My name is Greg, and I have a problem

| 24 Jul 2014

As readers of Classic & Sports Car, you probably have a passion for vintage racers,  '50s open top sports cars or '70s luxury saloons. Which is why, when I accepted a job offer nearly five months ago, I decided to reduce my fleet down to just one classic. 

You'll probably be aware of my 1974 MGB GT – its knackered sills, bubbling bodywork and temperamental clutch. But you don't know that my name is also on the V5C of another classic (or not, depending on your outlook). I also own a 1988 Austin Maestro 1.3L, which I decided probably wasn't quite sharp enough to feature regularly in C&SC.


As a result, my beloved 'Nermal' (because he's not quite normal) is living in exile behind my brother's flat in Sidcup. He starts it for me once a week and provides regular updates on the size of the rusty holes in its sills. "Getting bigger by the day. You can almost see it expanding with the naked eye," was his latest report.

Vauxhall Astra

Vauxhall Astra in more illustrious company

And it's not the only 'crappy hatchback' I've owned. I also had a rare 1982 Vauxhall Astra 1200S booted saloon, which was finished in glorious Smoke Blue with black steel wheels. It also had terminal corrosion problems, this time focussed on the bulkhead.

Vauxhall Astra

Booted saloon Mk1 Astras are very uncommon. This one starred in Police! Camera! Action! in 1990.

The trouble is, I found myself scouring the classified adverts yesterday for another. Why, I couldn't tell you. My other half would smother me in my sleep if she even had an inkling that I was considering buying another car. The target of my lusty attentions this time was a 1995 Fiat Cinquecento – not even a Sporting, but a plain Jane bog-standard white one with just 45,000 miles on the clock and 12 months' MoT. It's only £500.


If there's such a thing as car rehab, I need to check myself in.

I feel like a dirty old man sneaking off to watch blue films in the middle of the night. I know it's wrong, but I just can't help myself.